During a recent discussion with a good friend of mine, who is also conservative, we discussed a book called The Thomas Jefferson Education by Oliver Van DeMille, along with a presentation that DeMille had done. One of the things that DeMille pushed was the education that Jefferson, Franklin, Washington, Madison, and the rest of the founding fathers was geared more to arts, culture, history, and even religion. He went as far as quoting Morris who said “In order to be a country of independence, we must be a country of independents.” At that point 90% of free Americans owned their own business. Today it is less than 10%. He also felt that modern types of education can actually hinder leadership and free thinking. Most people go to college and focus on a particular job or major instead of expanding their mind or creative thinking. Bill Gates, Michael Dell, and Steve Jobs are all great examples of this. They all went against societal norms and are multi-millionaires (if not billionaires) today. Is society hindering quality leadership training?
He also went on to say that thinking about entrepreneurism today is only a tiny fraction of what it was back then. It was expected for a person to be an educator, business man, or house wife. Even chimney sweeps were independent contractors. Today the odds are small that you are going to meet a person who owns his own business.
What has changed that people are so afraid of taking risks to start their own business that it causes them to spend decades in a job that they don’t enjoy? I am fortunate that I enjoy my job and the people that I work with. But I know all too many people who cannot say the same.